Sambal Goreng Cabbage with Liver

We love fried livers. This sambal goreng cabbage with liver (hati) is a delicious Indonesian alternative to fried livers. This sambal goreng can be made with any cabbage and ‘with other types of meat’, Beb Vuyk writes in her cookbook.

Sambal goreng cabbage with hati translated from #64 from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 86.


  • 1/4 kg cabbage (white, green, savoy or pointed cabbage)
  • 100 grams of liver (any type can be used)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sambal trassi (or 1 teaspoon sambal ulek and 1/2 teaspoon trassi)
  • 1 teaspoon galangal
  • piece of asem the size of 1/2 walnut
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
  • 1 salam leaf
  • 1/8 block of santen
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • salt
  • Chop the cabbage extremely fine and wash it.
  • Cut the liver into cubes of approximately 2 cm. If leftover liver is used, the cubes can be slightly smaller, so they are not fried in advance.
  • Rub the onion, garlic, sambal and galangal with the sugar and salt into a paste. If you use sambal ulek, also rub the trassi.
  • Fry the liver briefly in the oil; take them out.
  • Now sauté the grinded spice mixture in the same oil until the onions are yellow.
  • Then add the cabbage and sauté for a few minutes until soft.
  • Then add the block of santen, the lemongrass and salam and 3 to 4 spoons of asem water made from the piece of asem.
  • Now also add the liver.
  • Let the dish stew until the oil comes out of the santen, after 5 to 6 minutes.
  • The cabbage should not be completely cooked.
  • Other types of meat can be used in this same recipe instead of liver.

Because I have a double amount of chicken livers, I also double my ingredients. I start by grinding the onions, garlic, sambal and galangal (I use a fresh piece) with the sugar (gula Jawa) and the salt.

For those looking for a tasty sambal trassi, I have a recipe on this website. But a Asian store or a high quality supermarket also has tasty sambal trassi. I grind everything together into a fragrant bumbu.

First fry the livers in some oil. They certainly don’t need to be cooked yet. Beb calls it ‘baking up’. I make sure that all the pieces get some color, but that there is still some red (raw parts) visible and then remove them from the pan.

I then fry the bumbu in the oil until the onions are yellow. Now the cabbage can be added, the salam leaf, the lemongrass and the santen (coconut cream). With some asem water (just two tablespoon) it can simmer nicely for a few minutes. I stir occasionally to ensure that the block of santen loosens properly.

Now the liver can be placed back in the pan and I let everything simmer for another 6 minutes. I place a banana leaf in the bowl and carefully spoon the sambal goreng cabbage with liver onto it.

I think the scent is already great. The livers are very creamy and soft and the cabbage has completely taken over the flavor of the bumbu and the liver. It really is a delicious alternative to fried livers.

We eat this dish with homemade acar and ikan teri. We love kimchi, that’s why it’s on the table, just like dry-fried tempe. Selamat makan!

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